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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Poems                        387

The Two Deans

Scene:   The Court of St. John's College, Cambridge.    Enter
the two deans on their way to morning chapel.

JUNIOR DEAN :  Brother, I am much pleased with Samuel


I have observed him mightily of late ;
Methinks that in his melancholy walk
And air subdued when'er he meeteth me
Lurks something more than in most other men.
SENIOR DEAN :  It is a good young man.  I do bethink me
That once I walked behind him in the cloister,
He saw me not, but whispered to his fellow :
" Of all men who do dwell beneath the moon
I love and reverence most the senior Dean."
JUNIOR DEAN :  One thing is passing strange, and yet I

know not

How to condemn it;  but in one plain brief word
He never comes to Sunday morning chapel.
Methinks he teacheth in some Sunday school,
Feeding the poor and starveling intellect
With wholesome knowledge, or on the Sabbath morn
He loves the country and the neighbouring spire
Of Madingley or Coton, or perchance
Amid some humble poor he spends the day
Conversing with them, learning all their cares,
Comforting them and easing them in sickness.
Oh His a rare young man !

SENIOR DEAN :  I will advance him to some public post,
He shall be chapel clerk, some day a fellow,
Some day perhaps a Dean, but as thou sayst
He is indeed an excellent young manó
Enter Butler suddenly without a coat, or anything on his
head, rushing through the cloisters, bearing a cup, a bottle of
cider, four lemons, two nutmegs, half a pound of sugar and a
nutmeg grater.

Curtain falls on the confusion of Butler and the horror-
stricken dismay of the two deans.